Technology experts say Ryanair’s latest initiative to prevent screen-scraping on its site will make things difficult but not impossible.
The airline has put a captcha screen in place along with a statement saying it ‘helps prevent automated programs from abusing the service’.
The screen appears once date and destination has been entered on the home page preventing screen-scraping technology from accessing pricing and availability information.
Technology players have suggested a number of ways around the problem including a technical solution although some argue the best way might be to outsource the captcha element to cheaper labour markets in countries such as India.
A number of companies, including Travel Republic, declined to comment on the airline’s move while Skyscanner says it does not screen-scrape the site because of a pre-existing direct relationship¬†with Ryanair.
Technology sources say it is unclear whether the airline is testing the initiative to disrupt business for dynamic packaging specialists or is considering it as a long-term strategy.
The airline made no comment.
Observers also believe Ryanair may be doing it to gauge how much of its business is coming from third parties but that other airlines putting similar initiatives in place have seen a decline in bookings as a result.
Despite widespread claims the move could cost the airline just under of its third of business, one observer comments that Ryanair knows exactly where its business comes from.
He adds, however, that the airline is also likely to annoy its direct customers with the captcha.